The Hell you say!
Uuuhhhhnn…. freakin’ sun…. and all its bright shininess. It was just about 10am, I was still exhausted and not wanting to get out of bed. It was very difficult to get any more sleep however, what with the afore mentioned bright shininess of that blazing orange ball, and the fact that the rest of the campground had come to life hours ago. RV diesels rattling, cookware clattering, kids playing, dogs barking, tent pegs being hammered, traffic buzzing by, etc… just some of the reasons I generally prefer wilderness camping away from everyone else. Apparently none of these folks had suffered through anything near what we had, and had probably gotten to bed at a decent hour. Rather than lay there irritated that I wasn’t going to be able to sleep, I got myself up to try to enjoy the day. Other groups of Grand Slammers were undoubtedly out wheeling and having a blast at this point, but several of us opted to skip day 2, lick our wounds and try to recuperate so that we would be able to do day 3. We spent what was left of the day washing mud off clothes and gear, checking out the town, downloading and organizing our camera files, and overall just relaxing plavix cost. That evening Kevin informed me that we were doing Hell’s Revenge the next day. What?! Hell’s Revenge? Didn’t we just live through that yesterday? I’m pretty sure that whatever sins I’ve committed in this life, hell had gotten its revenge on me yesterday, and then some. Argh!
Revenge is a dish best served sore, apparently.
Our morning started once again at Swanny City Park, and after grabbing some breakfast, our group took off to rendezvous at the Hell’s Revenge trailhead. While we were waiting for everyone to show up, air down, and do whatever various rig prepping they needed to do, I took a quick run up the hill to get a look for good shots to take. Well, I tried to anyway. Walking around the very flat town of Moab the day before, I hadn’t felt it, but attempting to run up that hill, it hit me. My calves and glutes were on fire and screaming at me! They just flat out decided that they weren’t coming to work that day and completely shut down. Apparently hiking half the Moab back country, up and down hills, hopping over rocks, slipping and sloshing through mud, all while wearing stiff motorcycle boots no less, is just not a good idea. Ouch. Our day was just getting started and I knew I was going to be hiking a lot more all day (oh the trials of being the camera man), so I stood there for a little while having a private discussion with my parts, encouraging and motivating them to get their butt moving (literally) and come to work. They eventually agreed begrudgingly, but let me know not to expect too much participation from them. About this time our rigs started moving up the rocks into the trail, so I limped along beside them as fast as I could to get some good footage.
Hell’s Revenge was nothing like Onion Creek. The Onion Creek trail varied in elevation and climate zones as it passed through narrow canyons, high desert plateaus, and heavily forested snow-capped mountains. While there are plenty of ups and downs, Hell’s Revenge sits in one climate zone and is almost entirely made up of sand and petrified sand dunes known as slickrock. For those of you not familiar with slickrock, the name can be a bit deceiving as slickrock, when it’s dry, is not slick at all. It is pretty slick when wet or if you are trying to cross it on a horse with metal shoes that have no grip; which is what the early settlers were doing, and how it got its name. When dry however, slickrock is anything but. Being petrified sand dunes, it’s very abrasive and grippy which is great for shoes and tires; not so great for clothes or flesh if you find yourself tumbling or sliding down it for whatever reason.
Our group came over the first big “entrance” rock and immediately splashed down into a huge puddle. Great, more mud and water… Ugh! Actually it was fine, it was just a big fun puddle to drive through, and aside from a few small puddles throughout the trail, we really didn’t have any water to contend with. Being a warm dry day, the place was packed. 4x4’s, mostly Jeeps, where crawling all over the place, as were side-by-sides, dirt bikes, mountain bikes, and hikers; I did notice a serious lack of metal-shoed horses though, I guess they figured that one out pretty quick. We moved further into the trail ascending and descending steep hills, chatting with other wheelers out enjoying the trail, and occasionally stopping so everyone could get out and take in the absolutely amazing scenery around us; I was giddy once more. At one point a tour Hummer passed us, stirring up some fond memories of my days as an off road wilderness guide. Yeah, I know that most of you reading this are Jeepers, as am I, but if you have never wheeled an H1, then you my friend are missing out on one of life’s great and simple pleasures. Drifting, yes drifting, as in completely sideways, just over 3 and a half tons of turbo charged steel and aircraft grade aluminum around twisting dirt roads and desert washes, is guaranteed to plant a huge mischievous grin squarely upon your face, as well as induce gratuitous amounts of Hollywood super-villain-style maniacal laughter. Man, I miss driving those things. We stopped for a lunch break at the loop by Hell’s Gate; out came the sunshades, chairs, and coolers as I did my best to limp off and explore my surroundings.